JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 84 children were diagnosed with cancer in Jacksonville in 2012. It's a frightening reality.
Both Nemours and the Wolfson Children's Hospital continue to treat children in the area, battling the life threatening illness.
Their joint Pediatric Cancer Program recently received another accreditation from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer, an honor they've held onto since 1985.
At 8-weeks-old, wrapped snug in her blanket, surrounded by teddy bears and on a hospital bed, little Elizabeth Ruzanka, was diagnosed with a form of infant leukemia.
"She was originally given a 20 to 40 percent chance of survival," said Elizabeth's mother Kristi Ruzanka.
Now at nearly 2 years old and standing strong, nick-named "Busy Izzy", Elizabeth has already beat the odds. She's just one of the many children treated through the Nemours/Wolfson connection.
Their joint Pediatric Cancer Program was recently accredited by the ACoS. For upholding its standards, helping to change and save lives.
"People don't like to think about children being sick," said Ruzanka. "But it's a reality."
She says she's thankful for everyday she gets to spend with "Busy Izzy." Just 3 months shy of her second birthday, Elizabeth visits the hospital for checkups, gets her chemo therapy often, and likes to sit still for a good book every once in a while.
Ruzanka admits, before Elizabeth was diagnosed, she knew very little about childhood cancer. But when the youngest child in Jacksonville ever diagnosed with cancer came into her life, she became consumed with helping to spread the word.
"Approximately 13,500 children were diagnosed in the U.S last year," said Ruzanka. "One in 5 will die. And there's something that needs to be done about that."
Ruzanka says people need to know about childhood cancer. She believes It doesn't get the funding, attention or research it deserves. September is childhood cancer awareness month.
The Cure-search walk is October 6 at 1:00 at Metro Park. The organization raises money solely for childhood cancer research.